THE BBM-SARA UniTeam has vowed to revive the country’s environmental problems.
“When disaster strikes, it is the poor, the people least responsible for the destruction of the environment, who suffer the most,” the BBM-Sara UniTeam said.
In a statement, the “BBM-Sara Uniteam” is pushing to revive and achieve a healthier environment, as “protecting the environment also means safeguarding the most vulnerable members of Philippine society from the onslaught of natural calamities.”
According to them, wanton destruction of natural resources makes the country prone to natural and manmade disasters, such as landslides, while flooding caused by strong typhoons from the Pacific Ocean devastates wide areas.
“The Philippines is now experiencing severe environmental degradation — mainly in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, disruption of hydrological systems, over-exploitation of fisheries, destruction of coral reefs, and extinction of species,” the BBM-Sara Uniteam said.
“These problems are accentuated by the pressures of a large, fast-growing and impoverished population, and aggravated by climatic change due to the global ‘greenhouse effect’. Moreover, environmental degradation leads to adverse economic consequences that threaten the Philippines’s prospects for sustainable development in the years ahead,” they said.
Data showed that In 2005, the Philippines ranked 125th out of 146 countries surveyed in the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), which indicates the ability of nations to protect the environment. The country’s forest cover in the 1900s amounted to 70 percent of the total land area and supported at least 200 to 360 species of trees. Currently, it covers only 20.5 percent of the total land area.
Studies have shown that to regenerate enough forest cover to bring it back to the same level as that in the 1900s would require 177 years at the present rate and efficiency of reforestation.
“Nature has its own rights that should be protected. It should be allowed to flourish, reproduce and attain its abundance side by side with human civilization in perfect balance and harmony with our growing communities,” they emphasized.
In this light, the “BBM-Sara Uniteam” envisions a “national government that shall uphold environmental protection and promote sustainable development; to ensure that the environment is protected and the country’s natural resources are utilized in a sustainable manner. The national government shall also undertake reforestation on a massive scale, enhance forest conservation and manage remaining forests according to strict standards.”
The two said they are also committed to the promotion of responsible mining by enforcing the key provisions of Republic Act No. 7942, otherwise known as the Mining Act of 1995, that regulates the operations of the mining industry in the country.
They recalled that when typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan hit the country on November 8, 2013 with maximum sustained winds of 235 km/h and gusts of 275 kph, it killed more than 6,000 people, displaced over 4.1 million and affected over 14.1 million. The said typhoon completely destroyed or damaged homes, schools, health centers and other infrastructure.
“This highlighted the acute environmental risks caused by natural calamities such as typhoons that cause immediate harm to human lives, health, and the environment,” they said. “The country’s environmental problems are on their critical levels and very serious.”